Tag Archives: haiti earthquake

Former Haitian President René Préval has died

Article source: The Miami Herald.  Writer: 

Former Haitian President René Préval has died, his wife Elisabeth Delatour Préval confirmed to the Miami Herald. He was 74.

Préval, who was president during Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, died at home in Laboule, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. His wife, who wasn’t with him, said she had spoken to him “three times” Friday morning. The cause of death has not been confirmed but friends close to him say it was likely the result of a heart attack.

“He was in excellent humor,” said Delatour Préval, who is traveling. “He asked, ‘When are you coming home?’ I refused to believe it. I cannot believe it.”

Préval served as president from 1996 to 2001, and again from 2006 to 2011. He is the only president in Haitian history to have served two full presidential terms and not be jailed, exiled or killed.



DRIFTING by Katia D. UlysseHello again! How have you been? What does summer look like for you this year? Are you having a little fun? Are you planning to travel a little–if possible? Where will you go? I want to see you. I’ve missed you.

I’ve been a little busy. I’ve got something to tell you. We’ve got some catching up to do. Where have you been? Where have I been? I can’t wait to fill you in.

I wrote a book. Really, I did. Akashic books published it. I’m excited about it. The book’s title is DRIFTING. It’s a collection of stories about my favorite subject: People. And Haiti.  I’ll tell you more later. Now, take a look at what people have been saying about DRIFTING.

What people are saying…

“An arresting account of the contemporary Haitian-American experience.”
Publishers Weekly

“Ulysse displaces and redeems her characters with formidable skill, while her precise cuts through all preconceptions . . . . Intense and necessary.”

“Humanity is lost and found in these stories . . . Ulysse has created a fascinating world of class and cultural distinctions; her stories are engaging.”
Kirkus Reviews

Drifting is a remarkable debut by a phenomenal writer. Much like Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, this sublime and powerful book allows us to experience the joys and tragedies of ordinary and extraordinary lives, in small neighborhoods and big cities, in the present and the past. Katia D. Ulysse’s talent soars higher and higher to expand both our hearts and our universe.”
Edwidge Danticat, author of Claire of the Sea Light

“We already know that the Haitian-American community can produce some of our very finest fiction writers. With Drifting, Katia D. Ulysse proves that point once again, evoking the immigrant experience with delicacy, gravity, and pathos. Refreshing and arresting on the first read, this book will be remembered for a long time to come.”
—Madison Smartt Bell, author of The Color of Night

“In Drifting, Katia D. Ulysse delves into the complex lives of girls and young women. With boldness and clarity she shows us what she finds: the fears, cruelties, and humiliations of their childhood; disturbing feelings of longing, jealousy, and grief; an intense struggle to make sense of the unfathomable world of adults; and above all a determination to survive. In clear prose, Katia Ulysse tells the tangled truth of life and brings a sensitive eye to bear on complicated, flawed characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary. These themes of displacement, struggle, renewal, and redemption are tough, piercing, and true, and they bear the mark of a gifted writer.”
—Michèle Voltaire Marcelin

katia-photo-at-library.jpgIf you’re in Queens, New York today, come on over to the museum. I will be there, sharing like never before. Let’s talk about some things. I can’t wait to hear your voices again. . .






“Tell Them I’m Still Here” ~ Remembering 1/12/10

1-Hummingbird2 (1)-001“Mommy, Are These Real People?”

My daughter’s eyes were fixed on the red letters that flashed at the bottom of the TV screen: CNN.

I Can Live -- FranceskaI was glued to the couch, watching Andersen Cooper broadcasting the news from Haiti.

Here and again a reporter would put a microphone near someone’s mouth. The person—a Haitian—would say something in Kreyòl; a disembodied voice would give a creative translation that was nothing like what the person had said.

“No. No. That’s not what the person said.” I would shake my head. My mouth was dry. My eyes burned from not sleeping. I could not stop watching.  My daughter wanted to understand. She wanted to understand why I was suddenly so interested in the television—something I had banished to some corner of the house.




I agonized about allowing my little girl to watch the people wandering around Port-au-Prince with tragedy drawn on their faces like massive Ash-Wednesday crosses.

The blood and mud looked like old play-dough. I thought my daughter was far young to see these graphic images. I told myself she would have nightmares. Watching this horror would transform her. She is only five years old.

Five year-old children in Haiti are different; they’re older somehow. Surely there’s some type of math that would substantiate this, particularly when you factor in a 7.0 quake, 30 plus aftershocks, and the estimated number of casualties. The story developing in Mommy’s country now is a must-see. It’s an epic blockbuster.

Frank - 1I sat my daughter down next to me. She watched intently a pre-recorded news segment which showed dazed and dusty people wandering about aimlessly.  The bad thing had just happened.

There were no bandages to cover the scary playdough on survivors’ eyes, arms, legs. There were no shrouded human forms in the middle of the street—not yet. The heaps of half-dressed mannequins with muddy hair and missing limbs had yet to be piled in wheelbarrows and dump trucks.

The former Palais National photographed by kdu: March, 2010“Mommy, are those real people?” my daughter was confused, incapable suddenly of making a basic distinction. She blinked hard, adjusting her eyes.

“They are real people,” I explained. “They are real as you and I are.”

A man walked across the screen with a baby in his arms. The baby looked like an antique doll that had fallen off a shelf and lost a few parts.

“Is that little baby sick, Mommy?” my daughter wanted to know.

“Yes, the little baby is sick.” The truth would have to be rationed carefully– told in increments — over time.

“Tell Them I’m Still Here” words spoken by Maxo Simeon inspired a Short film by Katia D. Ulysse (Estimated release date, December, 2013)

“How can we help them? Do you think they need snacks? And juice boxes? Do you thing we can give them each a Happy Meal? And then they’ll be ok, right?”

“This will take a little more than snacks and juice boxes, honey. Not even a Happy Meal will fix this one.”

Katia D. Ulysse ~ February 12, 2010


Leslie Sauray’s “Untitled”

As the ashes clear and we move away rubble
you see my people still standing, still running
even if we stumble.

We’ve been down worse roads
We have broken many chains
Shaky grounds have been around
Long before the earthquakes came

The after shocks are the souls
of those in the after life
trying to wake us all up
so we can continue to fight

The te. . . levision can’t show
the smell and the screams
So you only got a small picture
even on a big screen


Michèle Voltaire Marcelin: Life Always Triumphs

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin is a writer, poet, performer, and visual artist who has lived in Haiti, Chile and the United States.

Her first novel, La Désenchantée, was published in 2006. Since then, she has published its Spanish translation, La Desencantada, as well as two other books of poetry and prose: Lost and Found, and Amours et Bagatelles– which was recently translated to Spanish and which she presented this February at the International Book Fair of Havana, Cuba.

Michele’s work is also included in two poetry anthologies published in France :Terre de Femmes (Editions Bruno Doucey) and Cahier Haiti by Revue d’Art, Littérature et Musique.

Maya Angelou declared her poems “stunning” in an interview on OprahRadio:

Haitian Poet Michele Voltaire Marcelin – Audio – Oprah.com



Author Edwidge Danticat wrote: “The seventy-four poems in Michèle Voltaire Marcelin’s “Lost and Found” are as sensual as they are lyrical, as tender as they are incandescent. Make sure you are sitting down, or better yet lying down, with your beloved and a glass of wine, as you read them. Your heart — and your love life — will never be the same.”

Michèle recently read her poetry at the International Miami Book Fair along side Paul Farmer, Salman Rushdie, and Edwidge Danticat. She’s been featured as one of the poets of the NewsHour on PBS and interviewed by CNN Español.

She has performed her poetry solo and with jazz bands at the Brooklyn Museum , the MoCADA, La MaMa theatre, Cornelia Street Cafe, the United Nations, the Segal Theatre, and most recently at UCLA with Jonathan Demme, Maggie Steber, Mark Denner in Haiti Stories.

She has shared the stage with artistic luminaries Emeline Michel, Manno Charlemagne, Buyu Ambroise, Beethova Obas, Jessica St.Vil of KanuDance. Her artwork has been exhibited at the MoCADA, the African-American Museum of L.I., The Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and the Mupanah in Haiti.

This Port-au-Prince born artist writes in 3 languages and currently lives and teaches in New York.